My doctors call my lungs an impassable sea.
Kidneys a dam from which nothing flows. No food,
no words pass my lips. I look to the moment when all
I am isn’t. Amid the closing fog, I hear one
of my sisters say, “Can’t you put in a feeding tube?
Give him a few more hours, a few extra days?”
My mouth freezes, mind screams. Then I remember
their dog. They refuse to put him down. He’s hardly
a living thing, not unlike me. They keep him alive
for weeks until he can’t lap water. At least he could

Dick Altman writes at 7,000 feet in Santa Fe, where reality and imagination often blur. His work appears here and abroad. He is a poetry winner of Santa Fe New Mexican’s annual literary competition. His first collection of poems, Voices in the Heart of Stones, is being considered for publication.